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Quick flashback to October 2012…I was here before and experienced my first and hopefully only DNF. It was cold, it was raining, and I injured myself in the first 5 seconds of the race by slicing my foot right open on a rock as I entered the water. After pushing through the swim and then the bike to mile 34 with a nasty, stinging cut in the middle of my foot, I brought it in and went home. One bloody sock and one tetanus shot later, DNF.
Here it is 2013, and I am ready to take on this course. I was planning for cold, rainy weather again. I had purchased all kinds of cold and wet weather gear just for this race, so why wouldn’t it be clear skies and 90 degree temps?
My crew (daughter Samantha) and I drove up the day before for bike check-in and checked out the expo. I can’t help it I’m a sucker for expo shopping, but I scored some great stuff.
Got banded, picked up my goodie bag and numbers, and dropped off my bike. This year’s swag included a nice mock neck technical shirt.
I didn’t feel the need to stay local, since the drive was only an hour. We got as close as we were going to get and ended up parking on the street right by the entrance to Centennial Park. I immediately headed over to transition and setup my area. Although the water temps were wetsuit legal, at 6:00am I was already feeling the day warming up. My daughter and I were fortunate to some have great friends from Team Z to hang out with before the race. Especially one that knows how to take some great pre-race picks.
So during our pre-race shenanigans, I discovered that my Garmin decided it wasn’t going to work for me. Every time that I would push the power button it vibrated and gave the message “SOFTWARE LOADER.” Seriously, what does that mean?! I cannot race without my numbers! My OCD will simply not let me do this and keep my sanity.
Oh my goodness, thank you Erica for saving the day! Awesome friend Erica was only racing the swim leg on a relay team and was not using her Garmin was gracious enough to let me borrow hers for the race. Crisis averted!
Once again, as with so many other races, my swim wave was close to the last, 4th from the last to be exact. My swim was okay, but I had already decided that one of my focuses during the off-season is going to be swim work. The course was well marked, however I should have worn tinted goggles since we are swimming into the sun. This also makes the far buoys hard to see. Although my time wasn’t great, I consider the course successful since I didn’t cut my foot on entry. Swim time: 30:40.
My T1 time was not good. My daughter needed the keys, which happened to be in my gear bag, to get into the car. I told her to be at the bike out exit and I would throw them to her. Other than this delay, transition went smoothly. T1 time: 5:11.
This was seriously the hilliest bike course I have experienced. It was tough. The most popular phrase I heard on the course was, “Dropped my chain.” I was included in this mix…twice. There was one hill, I don’t know at what mile it was, but thank you to the group that was partying on the hill and cheering the athletes on. Yes, the man in the dress and wig, I’m talking about you. Hills and roundabouts describe this course well. I don’t think that I’ve driven a car through this many roundabouts in my life. The course views were spectacular, a lot of beauty up in Maryland. Two loops later, I was so happy that I was done with those killer hills. Just before I turned into transition, I saw Samantha and Tracy (T-racer girl) taking pictures at the turn. Tracy caught my shout out to Rev3.
Ok, it was hot, REALLY, REALLY HOT. I moved in and out of T2 in good time. I grabbed my Gu and I was out on the run. T2 Time 3:19.
At this point, last year’s weather would have been welcoming. It was so unbelievably hot out. About ¼-mile out of T2 I got a cramp in my side that took me a few minutes to work out. Hills, hills, and more hills once again. It was so hot and I couldn’t cool off well, so my plan was to walk through the water stations and run in-between. I think that my running up the hills though was more like scooting. So happy that there were plenty of aid stations with water, ice, and Coke manned by some awesome volunteers. Coke? Yes please, at every other station. But seriously, it was hot. The run took forever. I was so happy to finish the first loop of the run. How happy?
Ran through the finish line with Samantha. She is my biggest fan, and my greatest supporter. Run Time: 2:31:13. I would rather not talk about that run time, it was bad, I was slow.
Overall Time: 6:28:16
This was truly a great race, for such a great cause. With last year’s DNF in the back of my mind throughout the race, I was so happy to finish. The course was covered with awesome volunteers and law enforcement support. You know when Revolution 3 Triathlon is a sponsor it’s going to be a great race. I will be back next year!
04/2014 Set Up Events Smithfield Sprint Triathlon
05/18 Rev3 Knoxville Half Age Group Championships
06/15 Rev3 Williamsburg Olympic
07/14 Colonial Beach Sprint
08/02 Quantico Triathlon
08/09 USAT Age Group National Championships Milwaukee, WI
09/07 Rev3 Cedar Point 140.6
10/2014 Half Full Tri Olympic
On Sunday, September 8, the 8th annual Nation’s Triathlon was held in Washington, DC. What an awesome experience to race in our Nation’s capitol. The race benefited the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, represented by Team in Training. Starting in Potomac Park, the international distance course (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run) took athletes by many of DC’s historic landmarks.
The REI Sports & Fitness Expo held at the Washington Hilton was awesome. A lot of great sponsors and vendors showed which means lots of samples and a little bit of shopping (REI, Revolution 3 Triathlon, Power Bar, Gatorade, and Team Z to name a few). My favorite triathlon expo purchase of all time was made here, my framed triathlon art by Alejandro Maldonado. How cool is this?
After the expo we navigated through downtown DC to drop off Miss Pink at Potomac Park. I really, REALLY have a strong dislike for roundabouts, and DC is full of them. Just saying.
Racing in the Nation’s capitol provides a lot of fabulous views, even walking from parking to the transition area at 5:30am.
Parking wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but as always the early triathlete gets the parking spot. We were super early to transition, and I was able to get setup rather quickly.
So, I’m setting up my area, and I notice that no one else has out their wetsuits. The water temp announced at the expo was 74 degrees, how did the water get warmer overnight? Oh well. Luckily, I also had my Zoot Speed Suit with me. By this time it’s 6:30am and I am done with setup, the first wave doesn’t start until 7:00am, and I am wave #27. With 8 athletes entering the water every 15-20 seconds, I have quite a bit of time, however I didn’t realize how much time. Seriously though, I didn’t realize how much time. When we were in the chute, the first finisher was coming in. It was just after 9:00am when we started.
I’ve never done a swim in the Potomac River before, but I have heard people say that it would be a dirty swim. It wasn’t that bad. The swim course was the BEST marked course I have ever seen, buoy markers every 100 meters.
So, if I’m being totally honest with myself, my swim training was quite lacking. I was not following my swim program as I should have been which is shown by my time. I wasn’t struggling by any means and I did okay, but I was not impressed with myself. The water was smooth with a few ripples. Finished in 30:37. The transition area is a short hike from the swim. It is across a paved road and there are a few rocks to be aware of as well, so step carefully.
I truly loved how well the course and the transition area were marked. It made it very easy to find my bike and head out onto the bike course. My T1 time was 2:36.
This was a fast course. There was a few “no passing” zones on the course, which did cause some slow down. But it’s all for safety and everyone needs to remember that, especially the guy that bumped me as he flew by in the “no passing” zone. I was hitting 28-30mph in some areas, which was nice. It’s a 2-loop course that takes you over the 14th street bridge and through a few tunnels. There are a few uncomfortably tight turns on the course where it’s best to slow down to a crawl to be safe. I felt really good about my bike course time, I wouldn’t change a thing. Finished in 1:13:16 giving me a 20.3mph average pace, I’ll take it.
I came in quickly off the bike I was not looking forward to the run. Time 1:50.
By this time it had gotten really hot, temperatures were in the 90s. It was humid and there was not a cloud in the sky. I have been running poorly in the heat, and this was not going to be a good run. I started the run with a slight cramp in my side, which I was able to work out fairly quickly. There wasn’t a lot of shade on the course, and it’s a good thing that I didn’t have the urge to go because there weren’t any porta-johns either. The course had a few slight inclines, but for the most part was fairly flat. It wasn’t muscle cramping or lack of energy, I just couldn’t cool off enough. Finished in 55:35 at 8:58 per mile. Very unhappy with my run time.
My overall experience with the Nation’s Tri was awesome. The race was well organized, from packet pickup through the finish line. Unfortunately, after the finish line not all racers received their finisher medal right away. Some how they ran out of medals and had to mail out many of them.
Surprise…surprise, rain was in the forecast. Once again Mother Nature has blessed me with a rainy day to compete in. Not only was it raining, it was cold. It was cold in August! What the heck?! However, regardless of the weather I had an awesome experience. It was quick and it was fun. For an inaugural race, it went off without a hitch.
There wasn’t much pre-race for me for this race since it was right down the road from me on Marine Corps Base Quantico. Luckily, I train on these roads and in this pool all the time, so I knew the course well.
This was my first-ever pool swim triathlon, and I was very unclear as to how the swim was organized. Thank you Set Up Events for providing us with clear pre-race instruction.
The swim was only 400 yards, setup in 25-yard lap wide lanes for triathletes to serpentine through. Up and back in the first lane, under the rope, and then repeat. Athletes were numbered by the time they estimated during their registration. I overestimated my swim finish time by over a minute, so I had to pass a few people.
Transition was setup in the parking lot just outside the gates of the pool. Transition was quick and easy.
Once again I’m riding in the rain. However I know this course well, these are my training grounds. The bike course has a few short hills and some small rollers, but for the most part it’s a fast 9-mile course. The roads are a bit rough and bumpy, with a few holes, which were well marked by the Marine Marathon staff.
My bike-to-run transition was fast. Funny story…I put my running shoes in a bag so they wouldn’t be wet for the run that lasted about 2 minutes after putting them on
The 5k-run course was mostly flat with a lot of puddles. There go my semi-dry shoes. I had a comfortable run. Flew by the aid station at mile 1, no need, I think I got enough rainwater anyway. With a woman from my age group on my tails, just seconds behind me, I ran hard through the finish line.
As with all of my races this year was rainy, but a lot of fun. For an inaugural race, Marine Marathon with the help of Setup Events did a fantastic job! Regardless of the weather, the volunteers were out there with smiles on their faces. Placed 1st in my age group.
Today’s training ride was perfect for the upcoming Revolution 3 Triathlon Half Full in Columbia, MD.
Once again Mother Nature has blessed another of my Rev3 races with rain. So with Rev3, I am 3 for 3…rain. Getting to the race was half the battle. As an emergency department supervisor I have a 24/7 staff, and when duty calls I have to answer. The day before the race, when I was supposed to be leaving for Williamsburg with a fellow triathlete, I was instead on the road to Manassas to work. Luckily I was able to leave at noon, getting me to Williamsburg around 2:30p. The Rev3 expo and T2 were setup on the College of William & Mary campus. I checked-in, picked up my race packet and swag bag, dropped off my bike-to-run transition gear, and met up with some of my Team Z friends, Tracy (T-Racer Girl) and Maureen (my roomie for the race).
Bikes needed to be dropped off in T1 that evening by 6:30 down by the James River swim start, so we caravanned down there…in the POURING rain. Seriously? Oh well. Bikes dropped off…check. Being friends with members from Team Z has its perks, especially when you get invited to dinner. Since, Team Z was represented by 150 triathletes at the race the Rev3 organizers played their part at dinner bringing with them two professional triathletes, Lauren Goss and Andrew Starykowicz. A special thank you goes out to SimplyStu for putting me on the spot by announcing by pre-race faux pas to the crowd while modeling the finisher medal.
Just before the Rev3 Knoxville swim start I decided to wind up my arms to warm up for the swim. My arm went back and knocked Stu right in the face. I felt so awful.
We stayed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Williamsburg, just down the road from the transition area. The hotel itself was great, but our location in the hotel, not so much. We were in room 1, right by the lobby on the first floor. Not everyone has the same sleep schedule so sleep to not come easy, I’m not sure that it even came at all. You know those nights where you think you might have slept, but then you’re really not sure. It was one of those nights.
Good Morning Williamsburg! Once again poor planning on my part left me without my usual pre-race meal. I had a small cup of not-so-good coffee, a few bites of Maureen’s oatmeal, and thank goodness for my can of FRS. We headed out to the T2/Expo area to take the bus to the swim start. This is the point where I realized that the cup of coffee and the FRS were a bit too much for my itty-bitty bladder. Unfortunately looking for a porta-potty was out of the question since we were in what seemed like the longest-line-ever to get on the buses. I do hope that next year the transportation to the swim start is improved. I don’t believe there were enough buses operating to serve all of the triathletes, getting them to the swim start in time. People were still getting off the bus as I headed down to the swim start.
The swim temps were up and down during the days leading up to the race. With an official swim temperature just under 78 degrees I opted to wear my sleeveless Xterra wetsuit. The swim start was the most interesting start I have experienced. It was a beach start and as the horn sounded we all ran into the water and then preceded to walk about 100 yards out into the water before we could even start to swim. It was so shallow.
The current was pretty rough and kept pushing us off-course. Navigating around the first buoy turn was quite a challenge amongst the chaos. A lot of swimmers were struggling and pulled from the water, the current and the swells were too much. I kept chugging along. The movie Finding Nemo came to mind, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.”
I finally reached the last buoy turn and brought it in, walking the last 100 yards. That was the longest 1.2 miles ever, especially since my Garmin said 1.79 miles, swim time 54:46. I was so happy to be on dry, well semi-dry, ground. The swim was rough, rougher and even emotionally draining for some. A fellow triathlete broke down in the transition area, and just as I was about to reach out to her, one of the awesome Rev3 volunteers was there for her to cry on his shoulder. Have I mentioned yet the awesomeness of all the volunteers?
What I would do differently?
Honestly, there was really nothing I could have done differently to prepare for that swim. I finished the swim, that is all.
My T-1 time was 5:24, it was another long run from the swim finish to the transition area. Normal transition, nothing too exciting.
The bike course was really nice. It was a nice mixture of flats, rolling hills, and a couple of climbs. The rain had stopped, but the cloud cover remained, which was nice. The sun made its appearance just as I was finishing up the bike. Course time 03:11:47.
What I would do differently?
Nothing. I feel good about my bike time and strategy for this race.
My bike-to-run transition was 02:60. After quick stop at the porta-john, I was out on the run course.
With the sun beating down after the rainy morning, it got really and really humid, really fast. My run started out so-so, but then had to slow a bit from the heat. I was also having an issue with my little toe on my left foot. I’m not 100% sure why it kept hurting, but I’m going to guess it was my new shoes. The course was hillier than I thought it would be. There was a steep hill that we hit twice since it’s a two-loop course. Luckily, I ran into a friend and Team Z’er on the course, Meghan. Since the race we refer to each other as each other’s angel. We really pushed each other through the course. The temperature kept climbing. I picked up ice and water from each aid station. I learned a trick that Mirinda Carfrae mentioned during an Ironman World Championship highlight special. She puts ice down the front of her tri shorts to cool down her core when she’s running. It really works! Thank you Rinny! Run time 2:21:32.
What I would do differently?
Do NOT wear new shoes to a race! I know better.
It was a great race and great course. The swim was tough, but I feel tougher for finishing it. I do hope that next year the transportation arrangements to the swim start area will be improved. I’ll be back to race again next year.